Home » Gate Guarding » Full-Timing It in an RV – What Would You Buy? Please Vote!

Full-Timing It in an RV – What Would You Buy? Please Vote!

Growing up, almost all of our vacations were spent camping. Our first camper was a Cox fold down.

It was a lot like tent camping on stilts. When it rained you stayed away from the canvas or it would you’d wake up soaked.

I think this picture was taken at Turkey Run State Park in southern Indiana. By the time I was 16, we’d been to every state but Alaska and Hawaii. That was such a gift and grand adventure. I got the traveling bug, young.

I was born in Middlebury, Indiana (technically in Elkhart, since Middlebury didn’t have a hospital). Many of you seasoned RVers know that area as the Camper/RV capital of the world, or at least it was when I was growing up in the 60’s.

Eventually, my folks traded the fold-down in for a travel trailer. It kept us dry when it rained and had a tinyΒ  kitchen area. My Mom was a Home Ec teacher, so the little bit of kitchen was bliss for her. I can’t remember how long it was – maybe 12 feet?

Today, I have a camper’s heart but an RVers body. I still love a campfire. Well, obviously, not here where it’s way too hot and a stray spark could ignite the whole state. But when I not working as a gate guard in southern Texas, sitting around a campfire at night is one of my favorite things.

I love to cook over the fire and sit out under the stars. Then, I like to come inside to running water and a bed that doesn’t hurt my back.

Dad, I'm the short one with no bangs, and my Sis

I remember, when I was little, passing Winnebagos and thinking how incredible it would be to be able to walk around and do whatever you wanted while rolling down the highway!

Those of you with Motorhomes are smiling now because as you know, while yes, you can get up and use the restroom or fix a sandwich, you are still walking in a moving, bumping vehicle.

When the time came to buy an RV, I did remarkably little research. Heidi had a Saturn, which was a perfect tow car. I headed straight for the Class A’s. (Heidi had Winnebago envy as a child, too!)

32 foot '07 Mirada

Right now we’re contemplating making a change. I would love to hear from all you RVers about what you bought/or would buy and why?

I began a discussion about this with Dave who is thinking of changing from a 5th wheel to a motorhome.

I’m thinking of going the other direction.

You can see Dave’s comment at: Joe Series – More Pros and Cons

I would love to know more about your experiences. What you see as the pro and cons of a motorhome vs a 5th wheel and any other thoughts on the topic. As always, thank you for reading and thanks for participating.

17 thoughts on “Full-Timing It in an RV – What Would You Buy? Please Vote!

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  4. Our 5W is wood-framed which makes it heavy, but it comes with a -10* low temp garrentee for the basement to not freeze if the furnace is running. For another $20K we could have got the same floorplan with 5.5K of CCC load capability, but at 18750 lb GVWR it would require one of those 2011 $65K trucks to pull it and still been not far off from it’s limit. We do have a huge kitchen and Sheila brings her Kitchen-aid mixer, but after we get out all of the pictures & pretty’s it’s better to stay in one spot for several months. When we have to move on a couple hours notice it tends to stress us out a bit to say the least, LOL. We looked at 1000 units before buying ours, that is why we bough the off-road version, only we didn’t panic until we hot our current unit. We went from 28′ to 33′, from 1000 lb of extra CCC to what we feel was ~1000 lb short & at our trucks limit. We are doing the same research on 4 season motorhomes … Oh dear!


    • Dave – no offense, but you talk like a guy! Seriously, you continue to make some very interesting points and I even understood most of them πŸ˜‰ I’d love to hear what you and Shelia end up with. Hope the sale is going well! ~ Debbie

  5. I voted for the Class A, which is what we have, but at some point we’ll be making the move to a bus conversion.

    We’ll be leaving our present spot here in Wisconsin as soon as our air conditioner issues are fixed, and we’re heading to TX where we hope to get a gig gate guarding.

    Enjoy your blog.

    • Allison – thanks so much for voting and for your comment! (Motorhomes have gained some ground today but are still trailed 5th wheels) πŸ˜‰ You certainly don’t want to head down here until your air conditioning is in EXCELLENT shape! I walked up to the rig this evening to take pictures around 8:15 – the temp was 103 and I thought it was fairly cool. How sad is that?
      Have you been gate guards before? I’d love to hear about your experience when you get here! ~ Debbie

  6. I just can not seem to post to Fork, will try again. I have so many memories of the fold down and the people who used it πŸ˜‰ Love those folks! In my very non experienced opinion, I would vote for a bus conversion, wonder why… Just be careful pulling a 5th wheel, hope you get what you wish for xo

  7. I remember the fold down, loved to see it comming! Marci and you and Uncle Gerald are the way I remember also. I only vote for the Motorhome because of the ease of driving it, and the accessibility while traveling. BUT, I have no experience in full time motorhoming, so please just ignore my opinion πŸ˜‰

  8. Because many trucks are pulling near the GCWR limit, many folks travel with minimal fresh water & empty waste tanks. We noted quite a few friends with burst black tanks on their 5W’s, so we’ve been extra careful to travel near empty. It is also a pain to arrive or packup in the rain, no fun hitching or unhitching while getting the checklist wet … But you get used to it over time. Many 5W’s don’t leave any practical CCC left if the optional generator is installed, we don’t have one. Our dry camping is therefore short & only during mild temperatures. Also, spend a few days sealing up every possible tiny opening to slow down the number of mice & scorpions that love to raise a family inside your utility area which will have easy access to the inside kitchen cabinets @ night. Being proactive on this has helped a lot, but we never leave our guard down. Next we are preparing for the fall Asian Beetle & Box Elder bug invasion after the local farmers harvest the soybeans.

    • Dave – all good to know and consider. Thank you again.
      When buying this Class A – needing something that was semi four season-ish never occurred to me. This is about 1 1/2 seasson-ish. Not being at all mechanical, having the engine in the house really concerns me.
      You’ve made many good points and I really thank you for your input!

  9. We have a Class A, but I’ve been wanting to downsize to a Class C for a while. I just need to find a way to do without the basement storage that we have in the Class A. I know I have too much “Stuff”, but I use it all, so it must be necessary.

    I love traveling in the motorhome…no need to ask for bathroom stops (unless you’re the driver), grab a snack in a traffic jam, the dogs ride comfortably, and in an emergency or dangerous situation you can just drive away without ever going outside.

    • Diane – how interesting. You’re the first person to mention a Class C. I love traveling in a class A, too. We just never go anywhere and expect to be doing this gate guarding business for quite a while. You’re so noble in wanting to downsize. I’m wishing for more room. A stack-able washer/dryer. a kitchen with a little counter space, a frig that hold more than milk and eggs and soda and water etc…
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it! πŸ˜€

    • Thanks, John. The Jeep is going to have to be replaced with something – so a truck is more of an option than it used to be. I appreciate your vote. Take care there in storage! πŸ˜‰

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